Dharmendra remembers OP Ralhan, reveals why he took off his shirt in ‘Phool Aur Patthar’

Dharmendra was directed by Ralhan in only one film- ‘Phool Aur Patthar’, a film about forbidden love between a widow (Meena Kumari) and a thief, was released in 1966

Dharmendra remembers OP Ralhan, reveals why he took off his shirt in ‘Phool Aur Patthar’
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Subhash K Jha

The legendary Dharmendra’s  soft voice softens even more when he speaks of his friend filmmaker OP Ralhan who would have been 92 on  August 21 if he had lived.

Dharmendra was directed by Ralhan in only one film. Phool Aur Patthar, a film about forbidden love between a widow (Meena Kumari) and a thief, was released in 1966.

And what a hit that was!

“It changed my career completely.  Phool Aur Patthar was a golden jubilee hit. Suddenly I was being offered films by every leading banner.  Many of them wanted me to take  off my shirt,” laughs Dharamji.

A major point of appeal in Phool Aur Patthar was the sequence where a sozzled Dharmendra took of his shirt stumbled  towards the bed menacingly… and draped  it on the sleeping figure of Meena Kumari.

“That’s the moment when I began to be labelled He-man, Garam Dharam etc. You will be surprised to know that I was  very shy to take off my shirt. Unlike Salman who incidentallty loves me like a son,” says Dharamji affectionately.

Though Ralhan and Dharmendra were close friends they only collaborated on Phool Aur Patthar. Explains Dharamji,  “Nothing else matched  up. If we had to do something else  it had to be bigger.And the truth is, it couldn’t get any bigger than  Phool Aur Patthar. In those days one needn’t work together to remain  friends. Relationships  went beyond the professional.”


OP Ralhan interestingly never cast any  leading man twice except Rajendra Kumar who was his brother-in-law, and whom Ralhan directed in Gehra Daag (1963) and  Talaash(1969). But Phool Aur Patthar was the Sholay of this underrated filmmaker’s career. Ralhan was also a very popular comedic actor.

Says Dharamji, “He played my friend in Phool Aur Patthar and  he also played the lead in his own film Hulchal.”

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